Equine rehabilitation therapy for joint diseases
Physiotherapy is often used with people with joint conditions such as osteoarthritis, capsulitis, bursitis or tendonitis. Physical agents, such as ice, range of motion exercises, and laser can be used to control pain, reduce swelling, and restore optimal movement and function. This research investigates different modalities and their effect on horses with joint problems.
Cold therapy applied in doses of 30 minutes several times during the 24 hours after injury or exercise can significantly reduce the signs of inflammation. After an acute trauma, cold therapy can have significant effects for up to 72 hours.
Joint diseases can decrease the ability of the joint to move and can lead to thickened fascia and connective tissue, as well as muscle atrophy. Passive range of motion exercises is a non-forceful technique that promotes mobilization and reduces stiffness.
Laser has also proven effective for pain reduction and to improve the quality of repair in soft tissue wounds.
By using a combination of the joint disease therapy such as those described above, a decrease in pain and swelling can be found, as well as to control the damage in the joint and improve or maintain the functional status.
Expert opinion by Els Smet
It is important that further therapy should focus on improving muscle function so the horse can once again use its body in a balanced manner, thereby reducing compensatory injuries.
> From: Porter, Vet Clin Equine 21 (2005) 599-607. All rights reserved to Elsevier. Click here for the online summary.